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May 2016

The Bellinghman
Date: 2006-06-23 00:16
Subject: #30 Robert E. Howard: The Complete Chronicles of Conan (Centenary Edition)
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Tags:books, reviews
Robert E. Howard: The Complete Chronicles of Conan (Centenary Edition)

Hardcover: 925 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (19 Jan 2006)
ISBN: 0575077662
Category(ies): Fantasy

There is a sub-genre within Fantasy known as Swords and Sorcery. The most famous writer in this field - the man who created it in a way that his contemporaries never could - was Robert E. Howard. His most famous single character was Conan.This volume contains all the Conan short stories and the single short novel that Howard completed himself. All this, packed together with some autobiographical stuff, and some fragments completed by other writers after Howard's death, is in this single hardback volume. (If you thought you'd seen more Conan than that - well, you may well have done, but written by other writers after his death, usually adapted from outlines, or converted from stories about other characters.)

Howard was born in 1906 - hence the centenary. And he suicided a mere 30 years later in 1936, putting a pistol to his head when his mother slipped into her terminal coma. This work dates from the 20s and 30s, yet the freshness of his writing still works today, needing few allowances for attitudes that come from a different age.

Howard was born two years before Jack Williamson, and was a fellow Texan. Yet Williamson is still writing, and Howard has been gone for seven decades. What would Howard's impact have been if he'd had a longer career?

A fine volume for Howard fans.
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